Making deposits in the heart bank. This is what our interactions and environment are aiming to do for our children when we practice from the Heart! As much as young minds need nurturing, so do young hearts.
Experiences that speak to the children and touch their hearts are those they will truly take away with them. Their memories will fade over time, and they may not recall their specific interactions and activities, the impressions of kindness, trust and care will remain at the deepest level.
How do we know that heart felt moments are taking place?
We listen and we observe.
Truly seeing and hearing children allows for many nuggets of knowledge and provides a window into their souls. The beauty of this ‘nugget gathering’ is that as well as learning more about the individual child, it actually provides us the fuel needed to keep doing what we are doing, and keep striving to do more.
The deposits into their heart bank lead directly into deposits into ours!
At our own centres we have seen how nurturing new life touches our children deeply as they watch and copy us taking care of our pets. This was demonstrated one day when we had newly hatched chicks and one of the children took great care in looking after one of the fragile chicks. She gave huge amounts of information to her friends on how to care for it. She arrived each morning with only the chick’s welfare on her mind, hoping it was warm and the mother had “done her job”. Even when the chick did not survive, this child coped beautifully because the whole experience had been a relevant and moving one for her.
Beauty in the environment speaks to children’s hearts.
A mother of one of our past children shared with us how he started cutting flowers to add to his family’s dinner table. The vases of fresh cut flowers here reminded him what was possible. He brought a touch of his kindergarten home, in the same way as we bring a touch of home into kindergarten.
Our new persian rugs were added for a homely touch, and one of our three year olds has been observed walking round and round the central pattern, then bending down to trace the lines with his fingers. He not only saw new beauty in his environment, but he felt it with his body and heart.
An all weather outdoor programme offers day to day adventure and experiences that are looked back on retrospectively when the option is no longer available. One of our graduates described his primary school's 'rain bell' that sends everyone racing indoors. "I wish my school wasn't so afraid of the rain", he lamented in his six year old wisdom.
Rituals transform the mundane into extra-ordinary moments.
Our rituals transform ordinary day to day experiences such as eating lunch into something special, or put focused and generous attention onto the special moments such as birthdays or leaving. Infusing love and beauty into these occasions allows our children to look forward to, and then remember their special times for a long time to follow.
The most beautiful description we’ve had of our birthday celebration was when one of our parents described it as “an honouring of the child”! Which child easily forgets feeling honoured?
For young children their heart truly belongs with their family. Being able to share some of kindergarten with their loved ones feeds their heart, which was beautifully revealed by one of our children after a trip. The highlight of the day for this child was “having Mum with me”!
Heart deposits are made whenever children are met with kindness from caring adults. They need to feel heard and loved, and be with people who know that it is hard to say goodbye to loved ones, or wake up in a place that isn’t home.
There is such value in spending time with those who know that sometimes the only ‘first aid’ needed is a cuddle.
Perhaps this is all best summed up with these wise words -
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. - Maya Angelou
For us, this can also translate to children will forget what they heard, they will forget what they did, but they will never forget how our place made them feel!
(This article was adapted from a previously published blog post 'Making deposits in the heart bank')